The cell biology of cross-presentation and the role of dendritic cell subsets

Immunol Cell Biol. May-Jun 2008;86(4):353-62. doi: 10.1038/icb.2008.3. Epub 2008 Feb 12.


The cell biology of cross-presentation is reviewed regarding exogenous antigen uptake, antigen degradation and entry into the major histocompatibility complex class I pathway. Whereas cross-presentation is not associated with enhanced phagocytic ability, certain receptors may favour uptake for cross-presentation for example mannose receptor for soluble glycoproteins. Perhaps, the defining property of the cross-presenting cell is some specialization in host machinery for handling and transport of antigen across organelles. Both cytosolic and vacuolar pathways are discussed. Which dendritic cell (DC) subset is the cross-presenting cell is explored. Cross-presentation is found within the CD8(+) subset resident in lymphoid organs. The role of other DC subsets (especially the migratory CD8(-) DC) and the route of antigen delivery are also discussed. Further consideration is given to antigen transfer between DC subsets and differential presentation to naive vs memory T cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigen Presentation / immunology*
  • Antigens / immunology
  • Cross-Priming / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex / immunology


  • Antigens